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[protege-discussion] Multilingual ontologies

anonima anonima correosoft3 at
Wed Nov 29 08:10:29 PST 2006

Hi Protegeans!!

First of all, tanks a lot for maintaining this list, it's really helpful!

I am really interested in the way multilingual owl ontologies (classes and 
instances in different languages) are built. I would like to know what 
possibilities exist to achieve this task.

I have read documentation about this issue and I found that there (at least) 
two options:

a- The first option is based on creating classes and instances for each 
language and specifying its equivalence
For example: Let's say we want to have information written in English and 
Spanish. We would define an englishOntology.owl and a spanishOntology.owl. 
Then we would map every class and every property in the second ontolology to 
the first one.

b- The second option is about using the 'xml:lang' attribute
In the OWL Guide (by W3C) an example about writing language support for an 
owl class definition is shown. This is the example:

<owl:Class rdf:ID="Wine">
  <rdfs:subClassOf rdf:resource="&food;PotableLiquid"/>
  <rdfs:label xml:lang="en">wine</rdfs:label>
  <rdfs:label xml:lang="fr">vin</rdfs:label>

<owl:Class rdf:ID="Pasta">
  <rdfs:subClassOf rdf:resource="#EdibleThing" />


Are there more options to handle with multilingual classes and instances? 
Which is the most efficient with regard to software quality? Or better said, 
what conditions must an application or an ontology meet in order to say that 
one option or the other is best?

I would be extremely grateful if anyone could help me.

I have a question regarding the second option:

Labels don´t take part in reasoning tasks, but couldn't we work with URIs 
and then select the appropiate language dependent value?
I find defining different classes for each language a bit expensive. 
Although words change, concepts are sill the same (in most cases).

Thank you in advance.

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